Carat Connect: “Fewer.Better”
For the latest Carat Connect, The Guardian came in and spoke to us not only about how they’re exploring wider fields of content, but how they plan to do so in innovative, new ways.
Given the vastness of content available to audiences worldwide, it’s paramount for any brand of The Guardian’s ilk to push boundaries, and to be seen as originators in their respective fields. The mantra of the presentation and the goal for The Guardian is therefore to focus on “Fewer. Better”, in other words, focus on quality when it comes to media placements and partnerships instead of quantity.
They eased us in with a quiz on 2015, which was more challenging than expected; very few of us knew the name of Kim Kardashian’s new child (although supposedly that’s now what we class as news). However, our own Freddie Buxton seemed to be on top of the latest Kardashian broadcasts amongst other things, and bagged himself a brand new iPad, much to the envy of the rest of us.
The presenters openly admitted that the Guardian is very much seen as a marmite brand, but that it’s this perception that operates as the catalyst for everything they do, that of being a brand with strong values and clear idea of what they’re aiming to achieve when it comes to breaking and reporting on news stories. They opened with the quote of ‘The world needs a Guardian, the world needs The Guardian’, which couldn’t ring truer for this brand. A key example of this was their Shoot to kill report on the American police brutality on black people, a campaign which not only brought our attention to an incredibly serious issue, but also signified the type of trailblazing content The Guardian pride themselves on reporting.
Even with their scale of 22.3 million readers there has to be an element of trial and error with what they produce, and for this reason their notion of ‘playful intelligence’ is fundamental to the philosophy of what they do. They acknowledge they have a stereotypical highbrow audience - readers who are very loyal to the brand - however this hasn’t stopped them shying away from change; innovation is therefore key, especially in an era of cross-device. 50% of their overall readers now come from mobile, so the need to provide interesting and engaging content has never been stronger.
With so much news available to the market digitally, with innovation at the forefront of their philosophy, The Guardian has ensured they’re ahead of the game via partnerships with big name brands, for instance they are one of the first newspaper brands to partner with Facebook to ensure that Guardian content is distributed through Facebook Instant Articles. As far as advertising goes their extensive data expertise provides advertisers with complete confidence that their ad campaigns will be delivered ‘in-view’ and ‘fraud free’. Furthermore, they also informed us of their new Explorer tool, which allows you to search their database of published content to unearth rich consumer insights that could shape a content strategy or influence strategic planning.
The Guardian’s perception is somewhat of a liberal democrat’s middle class readership, to which they acknowledge, however they’re now recognising the ever changing world and continuous growth opportunities in digital media. They’ve grown to become one of the most reputable publications worldwide, and there’s few brands who supersede the Guardian when it comes to creating thought-provoking, well-researched articles. Their awareness of what it takes to achieve success and innovation in today’s digital world is also key, and for as long as they stick to the ‘Fewer.Better’ philosophy, the longer they’ll continue to operate as worldwide gatekeepers of news.